If we’re going to discuss roadblocks to change, and I am, then there’s really no point in going any further without addressing the single biggest thing stopping you or me from making changes in our lives — fear.
Of course fear does serve a basic survival purpose. If a car is charging towards you at 60 miles per hour, I think it’s good to be afraid. It gives you a jolt of adrenaline and hopefully makes you get out of the way.
But the problem is our lives have largely moved away from day to day survival and our instincts do not seem to have fully adapted. Fear of more complex situations mainly results in paralysis. As a result we can fear many things that do not in fact threaten our lives or even our comfortable existence.
Fear is an emotional reaction. It can be hard sometimes to recognize when you are acting out of fear rather than a rational assessment of the situation. Most people will face some level of fear when setting out to change their lives in any significant way. It’s important then to take the time to step back from those feelings and get some perspective on them.
Putting it in Perspective
Try to define what your fear actually is. People are often described as scared of change. But it’s not really change itself that’s the issue. It’s what might go wrong. What you might lose. So identify what it is that’s actually got you worried.
Now that you know what it is that you’re scared of, you can start to work out a solution. First assess it honestly. Is it really a risk? If the worst you can imagine happens, will you actually be hurt by it, or just a little embarrassed?
Assuming it is in fact something that could do real harm to you, your life or your relationships, how can you minimize that risk? Planning is neither exciting or sexy, but it is a great way to meet your fears and bring them down to size.
Facing My Fears
I ran a little experiment on G+ the other day to test out a theory I was reading about. The theory was backed up by my totally non-scientific poll. But that’s really not the point. The point is that to seed the test I posted the three things I dread the most. And the interesting thing is that those three things can all be boiled down to fear of failure and rejection.
Of course that is exactly the sort of fear that will immediately grind any thought of change to a halt. So if I going to seriously look at making changes in my life (and that is sort of the point of all this), that’s what I’m going to need to address.
I have to first recognize that a fear of failure and also that people will laugh at or reject me, stops me from doing things that I might otherwise do. Clearly my fears are exaggerated. People are highly unlikely to actually laugh at me (well not to my face anyway). And if they do, why on earth would I care? As for failure? Well I’ll point you back to what is really the first blog I wrote in this series where I came to the logical conclusion that failing is a good thing.
Fear of rejection is a little different. There are a small number of people whose rejection would absolutely hurt me. The logical thing to do there is to move slowly and make sure to properly communicate what I’m doing and why to the people I care about. I’m not great at communicating. That’s one of the areas I’ll need to work on.
I think for my next post it might be time to take some of this theory and apply it in a more practical fashion. In between I may post some new photos, I haven’t done any in a couple of days.